KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - It's officially fall, but it's not quite officially flu season. If you've passed by any pharmacies or grocery stores lately, you may have noticed signs letting you know flu shots are available. But is it too soon to get vaccinated?
The Waldmann family makes it a point to keep up with doctor visits and they're a big believer in flu shots.
"Because he's a baby, he gets two doses so in just a few weeks he'll get his second dose. Tomorrow my 3-year-old daughter gets her flu shot and on Thursday I get my flu shot," said Beth Waldmann.
When she took her youngest, 9-month-old Bennett, in to the pediatrician Waldmann wanted to know one thing. "I asked that very question, is it too soon?"
Medical staff at the Knox County Health Department say no, it's not too soon to get your flu shot.
"You want to get that shot before activity really starts because we know it takes about two weeks for your body to start building antibodies and protect you against the flu," said Connie Cronley, an epidemiology reporting nurse at the health department.
Flu season officially starts October 1 and runs through February into March. Cronley says they haven't seen any kind of flu activity in East Tennessee yet, but it's not too early to get your shot.
"Each year our flu shot is made to last you through the entire flu season," added Cronley.
While it's the right time to get the flu shot, it's too soon to know which strains of the virus will hit. The formula was made six months ago and covers a number of various strains.
"You're not going to get the flu from getting your flu shot," said Cronley.
It's suggested everyone 6 months or older gets one. Cronley says if you get the vaccine and happen to catch the flu, chances are your case will be much less severe.
"Tis the season of runny noses for small children, allergies, colds, but at least we're vaccinated against the flu," said Waldmann.
Some preventative measures you can take right now include wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, clean high-touch areas at home and work, and if you do get sick, stay home.
Walgreens and CVS have flu vaccines ready to go and most insurance providers offer no co-pay.